Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Bit Of OSR Campaign Commentary On Gary Gygax's G1-3 Against the Giants & A0-A4: Against the Slave Lords Compilation Book By David "Zeb" Cook, Allen Hammack, Harold Johnson, & Tom Moldvay

"Giants have been raiding the lands of men in large bands, with giants of different sorts in these marauding groups. Death and destruction have been laid heavily upon every place these monsters have visited. A party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants. "
Here's the back history on G1-3 according to the Drivethrurpg lore;
"G1-3: "Against the Giants" (1981), by Gary Gygax, is a collection of three previous adventures (1978). The collection appeared in 1981, after the final copies of the original standalone adventures had dropped out of print. The intent was to upgrade the older modules to match the new trade dress of 
Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (1980)." What many people may not know is the fact that that according to the same entry; "Gygax says that the G-series modules were inspired by the "heroic adventuring" of The Incomplete Enchanter by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague deCamp" What this means is that while the vast conspiracy of the Drow machine is working the giants are really the unknown 'mob factor' involved in this adventure classic. This means that the DM has to connect the adventures via the actions of the player's PC's. This isn't an accident;  "When the parts of G1-G3 were originally published as three separate modules, they were a big deal. They were the first adventures ever for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game (which wasn't even complete at the time), and they were also TSR's first foray into adventure publication. Like other early adventures, the G-series modules originally had simple monochrome colors (brown, blue, and orange - all appropriate for the giants contained within). The original adventures were also among the shortest adventures that TSR ever published at 8, 8, and 16 pages, respectively." 

Everything begins in Greyhawk from the giants trying to destabilize the human lands & it all links back into 
Deeper & Deeper - The Connections between D3 Vault of the Drow & the Slavers 'A' series of Modules.  Alright now that everyone's on the same page this series of adventures links up with a series of adventures that includes D1: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth," D2: "Shrine of the Kuo-Toa," D3: "Vault of the Drow," and Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pits." This is why the slavers series links up so well with everything that's happening in Greyhawk, the Drow are already incharge of a number of infrastructures & backdoor slaver's guild networks all across Greyhawk. The Slave lords already did all of the work for them. The Drow may be chaotic evil but their far from stupid.

And if you think that Greyhakw  is the only world where the slave lord have be active in? I'd love to direct your attention to the Vault of Pandius article by Demos Sachlas called Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule. This gives the A1-4 modules a very Mystara feel about them. 

I'm not jumping around in this timeline or this article what I'm trying to show is the variety of options that are available to the dungeon master if they know what they want from these classic old school modules.
Demos Sachlas comes through again on the Vaults of Pandius site with his other article "Setting module G1-2-3/Against the Giants in the Northern Reaches." He had previously written  Kick-starting a Northern Reaches campaign using module B9.. Once again this all goes back to using G1-3 as the set up for this campaign run. Why?! Well let's get into our ten notes on running this classic:

  1. G1-3 Against the Giants has some of the best NPC's around & I personally save these giants for later use especially on Greyhawk. 
  2. The giants are an organized army & are independent of the various factions but especially of the slave lords themselves. Even they know not to tread a bit too closely. 
  3. These giants are like the barbarian tribes of Europe in the proto Roman Greco eras not something to screw with.Remember their reach is into other world worlds and that's something players are not going to expect. 
  4. On Mystara they giants are going to have unexpected alliances among the dragons & various monstrous races. 
  5. There may be Immortals involved on Mystara egging on some of the factions in G1-3 and be sure to take advantage of that factor. 
  6. The conspiracy of G1-3 is going to have far reaching effects on the royals of various campaign settings. 
  7. The spoils of war may be taken off world allowing the DM to exploit this for further adventures. 
  8. Adventuring in Hule makes it the perfect location to pick up that half ogre or orc PC you've been dying to use; "The population of Hule is described to be a mixture of humans and non-humans, mainly orcs, gnolls, bugbears, kobolds, and ogres" 
  9. There's plenty of opportunity to run domain level play in these where the PC's take over newly claim lands. They may run into a giant level problem as relatives & others hear of the exploits & murders of their kin. 
  10. G1-3 is the perfect series to take a Dungeon Crawl Classics party through! 

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